Why? Why me? Why can’t I make a baby like all my other friends and family? I have so many questions about why after almost 2.5 years of trying to conceive and failing miserably, month after month. What have I done to cause this? Why won’t my body just get pregnant? What am I doing wrong?
It’s human nature to want to know why things happen. But these are the type of questions that run through my head round and round, continuously ever since we decided to grow our family. I have yet to answer any of these questions. It is exhausting.
Chris and I are 1 in 8 couples of child bearing age in the US that struggle with the disease that is infertility. We tried the good old fashioned way – sex – for 11 months before we went to seek specialist help from a reproductive endocrinologist doctor after we discovered that Chris’s testosterone levels were “below normal”. It turned out for us that testosterone levels do not actually matter that much when it comes to fertility. Chris actually had super sperm, and lots of them! But it did lead us to start the typical tests for diagnosing infertility.
We thanked our lucky stars that all our test results came back normal – there was nothing seriously wrong with either of us. In fact, we passed all our tests with flying colours, we were top of the class! But this put us into the category that 20% of infertile couples are diagnosed with – unexplained infertility. This meant that the doctors could not tell us why we hadn’t been successful so far in trying to conceive the way they teach you at school. We were about to embark on a journey that was going to take us beyond what they taught us at school – we were going to try to get pregnant with medical assistance. We were heading into the world of the unknown. We knew little to nothing about infertility.
At first it was difficult to explain to our friends and family why we were seeking treatment, because there was nothing ‘technically’ wrong with us. The infertility was inexplicable! It was embarrassing, it was awkward to explain. So this is why I started this blog, to help us get over this difficulty in explaining what we were doing and why, as well as helping to explain our feelings about our disease in general.
Unexplained infertility in someways has been a good thing – there is always hope that this treatment will work. But ultimately it is difficult to accept that there is just no known reason that this isn’t working for us. In some cases, going through medically assisted treatment for infertility can reveal the explanation of a couple’s infertility. But in our case, after 3 IUIs (Artificial Insemination) and 3 cycles of IVF (In-Vitro Fertilisation), 1 suspected ectopic pregnancy, and over $90k of medical bills we are none the wiser as to why we do not have a baby in our arms yet.
Conception is a wondrous act of nature, but it is also an incredibly complex process – there have to be many stars in line for a healthy baby to be born. For something that is the very basis of our human race’s existence, we still know very little about the disease that prevents us from growing our families. It’s incredible, right?
I am currently in the dreaded two week wait of our third (and final) IVF cycle. If this cycle fails, apart from being devastated, I do not know how we will ever be able to move forward without knowing why this has happened, why medical treatment didn’t work for us. Our infertility will never leave us.
For National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW), the national non-profit infertility organisation Resolve is promoting this year’s theme #StartAsking. The theme is about promoting the questions that we want to be answered, whether this is asking for our Employers to provide insurance coverage, asking for legislation that supports family building options or asking our friends and family to support us. For me, the one question I have and want to raise more awareness about is to:
#StartAsking for more targeted research on unexplained infertility.
Perhaps if we can understand more about how or why some couples are infertile, then better focused medical interventions can be developed to defeat infertility.
I want answers!!!! But we won’t ever get answers if we don’t talk about infertility and unexplained infertility. It shouldn’t be a secret. We can do this by speaking openly about infertility, by getting organisations like Resolve to help raise our community’s voice and build awareness.
If you would like to know more about infertility, please visit Resolve.org.